Strategic Planning

The BPL Compass

Draft Plan Presented to Board of Trustees

by Gina Perille

We’re posting the Draft BPL Compass Strategic Plan (dated 09072011) that was presented to the Boston Public Library Trustees at their September 15 meeting. This document features the already-approved Compass principles along with outcomes and strategies. It is a PDF document, 9 pages in length. We welcome continued community comment as this document continues to evolve. The Boston Public Library Board of Trustees will have the opportunity to formally adopt the strategic plan at their November 15 meeting. Before that, the Strategic Planning Committee will meet on October 12 to discuss changes to the document. If you can submit your comments prior to October 12, that would be very helpful.

Thank you to all who have made comments on this blog and those who have sent in their ideas via email to Please keep your suggestions coming.

One Response to “Draft Plan Presented to Board of Trustees”

  1. Marleen Nienhuis says:

    Thank you, Compass Committee and staff, for the draft plan. It’s been a lot of work but the great thing about it is that it is a publicly informed document, perhaps the first in the history of the BPL.

    It’s a bit long. I suggest that the goals be culled so that true long-term strategic goals (such as accessibility for all) form the core and the rest of it is acknowledged as standard best practices of library management. It will make for a leaner and easier to read plan. For example, reviewing programs and services, items related to staff development, and enhancement of already existing programs don’t strike me as long-term strategic goals but management goals. A capital campaign to renovate the library system is a long-term goal, on the other hand, as is looking for innovative ways to develop new revenue streams and creating an advanced digitized framework for library services.

    The plan lacks two components: a transparent process, informed by outreach to the public, for the physical renovation, rebuilding, expansion, consolidation and reconfiguring of each of the libraries within the BPL. The current process for it is opaque and unfair. Why one neighborhood gets new libraries and not another is incomprehensible to outsiders and invites cynicism about the process having become politicized. This is why both in Seattle and Washington DC ALL libraries were renovated, not just a few at a time.

    The other component missing in the plan is to transform the governance of the Library Board. The board should consist of trustees who as candidates have been vetted by another public entity (city council?) in a public process to determine whether they are the best people to protect, first and foremost, the financial, cultural and civic interests of the BPL and its patrons. There should be term limits, to make room for new generations of Bostonians who reflect the academic, cultural, geographic and economic changes the city has been affected by, and will continue to be affected by.

    With kind regards,

    Marleen Nienhuis,
    founding president,
    Friends of the South End Library